Category Archives: SIngle Parenting

Middle Son

My middle child has probably had the most visibly rough time of it. He became his father’s favorite when he showed a willingness to engage in violence, a learned behaviour that it took four years for him to unlearn.

He has a touch of agoraphobia. He does not like to be out of the house more than two hours.

He has so much anxiety that he is always correcting everyone, arguing about the right way to say or do or even be this or that. He probably exhausts himself with it. I tell him every day to leave it alone but he has yet to learn how.

He is very discerning, he figured out the guy behind us is on drugs without hearing a word about it from me.

He is addicted to his Xbox, and cried today because his friend was not home and could not come over to play it with him.

He can’t eat dairy because it makes him angry. I keep him on medicine so that he doesn’t hurt other people with his initial angry impulses. It works well, but I have to constantly battle the insurance companies to get his prescription filled.

He would walk around sucking on lemons and eating raw onion when he was a baby. Not unusual in his father’s culture, but he gets a huge kick out of hearing about it now.

Today he began to throw a fit at the zoo (we had been there a long time) and he stopped himself. I think he has done this once before. I didn’t have to do much to calm him, I just reminded him that kids throwing fits get grounded and gave him a hug.

But sometimes when I remember that he collects glass sculptures, at eight years old, I feel a wonderment.

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Filed under Bully, Bullying, Child Abuse, Child Psychology, Domestic Abuse, Domestic Violence, Medication, ODD, PTSD, SIngle Parenting, Trauma, Uncategorized

More Than I

Today I picked up my Oldest Son during a downpour. As we left the front door of his friend’s house I held the little umbrella up over his head. He didn’t realize I had one at first, and he was afraid of the rain and of getting his video game controller wet so he was immediately grateful. He looked back and said “What about you, you don’t have one?” Meaning the umbrella. I told him I didn’t need one, I loved him more. He said “More than yourself, you love me? I thought you loved me and you equally.” I laughed at him and hugged him under the umbrella and told him that’s not how it works. He was so surprised.

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Birth Control Pills

I have cysts. I have them in the usual place, the ovaries, and also I get them on my skin, where the skin is thin. Behind the ear, in front of the ear, armpits, etc. It’s more annoying than painful. Pain is something I tolerate decently, but if I can avoid the cysts I would rather.

When I was with my abuser I could not get medical care. I was covered for pregnancies only. After the pregnancies they would give me low estrogen pills which I suppose worked well enough. They gave me these because I was breastfeeding and those were supposed to be tolerated well by the baby and not interfere with breastfeeding. So I was effectively pregnant in some form or another for about five years.

I never lost pregnancy weight. I had my pregnancies pretty close together. Two of my kids are a grade apart and the baby has one grade between her and the next oldest. I got pregnant, had the baby, breastfed, got pregnant before weaning and repeat. So I was never suspicious of birth control pills playing any part in my weight gain. I couldn’t get out to exercise often. I was allowed some walks but not too many and not too far.

I was always starving. Normal for breastfeeding and malnutrition.

When we escaped I let the birth control lapse but I was still breastfeeding the baby. I fed her for about nine more months after we left and then it got too hard with working to keep it up. She was twenty months, anyway. The boys got two years and some. I felt bad but my circumstances were so different. She did not fuss much.

As soon as we escaped the weight started falling off. I was able to get outside, I was not so hungry, and I attributed all of that to our changed life.

When we were relocated by the District Attorney I kept losing weight in our new place. I lost a lot of weight, I was nearly my early twenties weight when I was able to focus on my own medical care. I got the children looked after first, and with eight appointments a week and a new job I just put myself last. Who wouldn’t? So when I went in to finally see an OB/Gyn I did mention the cysts and she put me back on birth control. She put me on them all the time. No weeks off. No periods. Yay! Ummmm, no. But I didn’t figure that out til later.

This is so boring, really, but it’s context. So after about three months I started gaining weight again. I was starving, all the time. I was stressed out, tired, short tempered. At this point I was about a year and a half free. We figured it was my PTSD. Sometimes it hits you after a delay, sometimes dissociation keeps you from remembering. Sometimes you are in survival mode and only get around to feeling your feelings after you hit real safety.

I went with it. I started on beta blockers to help me slow down and stop overreacting. That took care of half the issue and then quitting coffee helped me enough to feel nearly normal. Not so irritable and crazy.

Last holiday season my son got the flu and I couldn’t leave the house to get the birth control pills. There was a holiday, they were closed, I had to wait a week. You are supposed to wait a week if you miss a few days. That was the best week of my last few years.

The pain stopped. The intense hunger turned off like magic. I was no longer a slave to the stove. My caloric intake was reduced by a thousand per day. I was logging, and it was ONE THOUSAND less calories a day. No more obsessive cravings. And I was so chill. Kids got into a fight? Pull them apart and send them to different rooms, have a chat. No problem. Not my usual MO. I usually have a bit of yelling first. I didn’t know what it was from, it didn’t register until I started back on the pills and my pain and irritability started up again.

I threw them out. Okay so I have them in a bag in my car to go to the medicine recycling box at the local Sheriff’s. You know what I mean.

I live like a nun. I don’t need these pills for the usual reasons. I got some cysts. I can take it. I lost four pounds. I stopped being afraid of being found. It doesn’t seem possible now, for some reason. I started talking in therapy. I don’t do so much of a standup routine in there anymore, now I tell my therapist what happened. I got my knee fixed, my cabinets rearranged, my room tidied up, my closet sorted. Shit I put off for months is getting done. I am blogging more. I am feeling more. I am having symptoms of dissociation. Not sure if I like the last one, but it feels more real than not caring. I sleep a lot less. I wake before the alarm, and sometimes I have to take melatonin to fall asleep.

This is all from birth control. I wish I had figured it out years ago.

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Filed under Asperger's, Domestic Abuse, Domestic Violence, Medication, PTSD, SIngle Parenting, Trauma, Uncategorized

Five Years Out- What I Learned This Year

We have been free for five years. The criminal order of protection expires in six years. We are down to two appointments per week from eight. I don’t have to log violent incidents because they are so few and far between. Here is what I have learned lately:

If you have a violent or hyper child, try cutting out dairy. Every bit of dairy, even butter, even buttermilk pancakes. Taking away dairy works like an antipsychotic, I am telling you true.

Your birth control pills or your estrogen can be making you sick. The side effects I am free from now that I have gotten off of The Pill are:
Stomach pain
Extreme persistent hunger
Eyes too dry to use contacts in
Cracking skin
Agoraphobic tendencies
Weight gain
Exhaustion
Sudden flares of temper
Irritability

I never suspected my Pill was hampering my recovery. Hard to control your PTSD when you are tired and irritable! Why was I on the Pill, when I live like a nun? For cysts. I get cysts inside and out and I would rather have them than the stomach pain I ended up with. Cyst pain is easier to deal with than that.

My Oldest Son did not experience his yearly regression. Possible reasons for the relief: 1)his obsessive and pervasive tendency to check out of reality and into books as a coping method
2)his anti-anxiety medication

He did NOT, however, ever gain back some of the skills he lost last year when he regressed. He is currently showing signs of stress- chewing his shirts, so I am still holding my breath a bit. But school is over in a week. I think this is going to be a regression free year.

It’s okay to be lazy. Sometimes you can’t go go go.

Thanks to the Sheriff, the DA, the DV Liaison, the Medical Team, and the friend who let us move into her basement almost five years ago. You made all things possible.

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The Remembering

The seasonal changes make you remember.

My son has been jumpy and irritable for a few weeks. Last week it was the anniversary of one of the worst beatings I had. Not because I broke a bone or required hospitalization, it was an unremarkable beating, as all mine were, in severity. It was a bad beating because I was stretched out fully over a bed trying to tuck sheets into corners when he started on me, right on my spine- a repetitive thing that left me feeling as I were hit by a truck for quite some time. It was the only beating I screamed through.

It was about five days before I could walk comfortably. I prefer to be kicked or hit on fleshy parts (luckily I was pretty overweight after having the babies and stayed that way all during breastfeeding). There are good reasons to be fat or to cut off all your hair when you are in an abusive relationship.

I don’t exactly remember after which beating it happened, my son’s rejection, but I think it was that one, because of the noise. Normally their father just got in a blow or two and walked off. This was an intentional and prolonged effort, and any kid awake could hear it. After my son tried to disassociate from me. He knew I could not keep him safe, after witnessing my inability to protect myself and seeing his father ridicule my pain. He refused my help putting him to bed, and he turned away from me when I offered to hug him. It really hurt. He did that for a day, tried to keep himself safe from his father by rejecting me. I knew what he was doing, but watching it was different from reading about it. It hurt so much I knew I had to leave. I didn’t want them to go through such psychological gymnastics in their toddlerhood. Just because he had stayed off of them for a few months did not mean he would never hit them again. They would never feel safe if they kept seeing him hurt me.

A week later he went insane and spent the night accusing me of having sexual relations with his own family members. Ridiculous stuff, things that could not possibly have happened. He was confused on timelines and could not remember when or where and he made up stories to fit his confusion and accused me of doing things I could not have done even were I so inclined.

This is what a decade of absolute loyalty and obedience will get you.

I spent the entire night patiently correcting him and reminding him that at that time this and that was happening and therefore he was mistaken and etc. By morning my temper was short, my children were up, and I had far more to do and could not spend any more time coddling his crazy. I told him in a loud voice that he ought to check with his family and leave me alone about it, because he was very wrong. In some other words, I am sure. Polite enough, but firm. He did not like firm women.

He got in one blow, on my back as I walked away, where I still had bruising. While I was holding the baby. He looked at the patio door- all glass to the outside walkway where anyone passing could see in, and he stopped.

What kind of coward beats a fat, quiet, breastfeeding woman on the back?

His mother saw the whole thing. She decided it was my fault- because I spoke to him above a whisper. This is a woman who watched me stand up for her every time her son abused her and yet walked away each time he took after me. I don’t understand her at all. I consistently pulled him off of her, even knowing he could turn on me. Shouldn’t she have returned the favor?

There was a lot more drama that day, and despite my efforts to avoid anything further I sustained some injuries later, nothing too serious.

We left in a police car, actually two.

Today my son turns to me as we walk into the school for a function and starts telling me about the police car he rode in five years ago, when he was three. He doesn’t remember being scared any longer, which was how he felt when he got out of the car and was reunited with me at the time. He remembers the hard plastic seats. He said they were comfortable. He obviously doesn’t quite remember accurately.

But he remembers, with no prompting from me whatsoever. Five years to the day.

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Filed under Bully, Bullying, Child Abuse, Child Psychology, Domestic Abuse, Domestic Violence, PTSD, SIngle Parenting, Uncategorized

But It’s Not A Real Gun

My son had five minutes left to play outside last night and he chose to spend it with a SuperSoaker. He came bursting out of the house and opened fire on his friends. I walked out towards the common area of the complex and noticed a police car parked in the lot.

I told my son to go put the gun down in the house or put it at his feet and I would retrieve it.
He wanted to know why and I told him because the police were on the property and he is never to have a gun of any kind in front of the police. Not even a stick he is aiming.

He argued with me.

But I can’t compromise on this. He has to develop a habit of taking the safest road and also show respect for the badge. This is a line he cannot afford to think of crossing.

This gun is bright orange, and he argues quite rightly that the police can tell it is fake. It helps that it is oversized. But color is not an indicator any longer.

Have you seen firearms wrapped in cartoon or brightly colored duct tape? I have. That is a clever and scary adaptation. I got the pics in my Facebook feed years ago and I was so shaken that I refused to share them with non-LE. Not the sort of thing you want to blow up into a trend.

The burden is always on the officer to discern threat, yes, but we have a responsibility to appear non-threatening, too. Why they don’t teach these things in school I will never understand.

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Sensory Divergences

My Oldest Son is autistic (you might already know that). By far my favorite symptom of his sensory processing disorder is his observation that seeing very endearing and adorable images makes his teeth go warm and soft.

Today he saw a lot of baby pandas in a magazine. Last time it was puppies in a calendar.

Some of us feel warm inside when we see such things. I think I have heard it described as heart melting or something similar. It is so cute that he has it in his teeth!

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